SOUTHEND United’s shocking season plunged to new depths with a dire 6-1 defeat at Colchester United in the EFL Trophy tonight.

Underfire Blues boss Mark Molesley made seven changes to his starting line up at the Community Stadium.

But it did not signal a change of fortune as the winless Shrimpers slumped to their biggest defeat of the season so far.

Blues have now gone 16 games without a win this term and Colchester came close to taking the lead after just six minutes when Jevani Brown burst into the left hand of the penalty area only to see his effort impressively pushed wide of the right post by Blues goalkeeper Harry Seaden.

Moments later, the Shrimpers also came close to going in front as Kazaiah Sterling’s low effort was saved by Shamal George after the on loan Tottenham striker had charged down the goalkeeper’s attempted clearance.

But, after surviving the scare, Colchester hit back and opened the scoring in the 16th minute when a short corner led to Kwame Poku delivering a right wing cross Brown headed into the bottom right hand corner of the net from close range.

Blues came close to grabbing an equaliser when a fine pass from Shaun Hobson saw Sterling running through but his effort was well kept out by George.

With play soon switching back to the other end of the field, Poku then saw a well struck 20 yard shot pushed wide of the right post by Seaden.

But, with 38 minutes on the clock, the hosts doubled their lead when Brown charged through – amid Blues’ appeals for offside – before delicately lifting the ball over the advancing Seaden for his second goal of the night.

The Shrimpers replied with Matt Rush having a low effort smothered by George before the visitors opted to make two changes at the break with Ashley Nathaniel-George replacing Brandon Goodship and Reiss Chandler coming on for the fit-again John White to make his first team debut.

But the hosts remained on top and came close to making it 3-0 when the hat-trick hunting Brown was denied by the legs of Seaden when clean through on goal.

Brown was not to be denied for long though and he bagged his third goal of the night from the penalty spot in the 57th minute.

The penalty was given following a poor Shaun Hobson challenge on Josh Bohui and Brown made no mistake as he sent an assured effort into the left hand side of the net.

Five minutes later, Colchester were celebrating again as Michael Folivi charged through and unleashed a well, struck shot which Seaden could only push into the right hand side of the net.

Colchester piled more misery on the Shrimpers in the 70th minute with Noah Chilvers sending a 20 yard shot into the bottom left hand corner of the net just seconds after Folivi had rattled the crossbar.

More misery was still to the follow for Southend as the hosts added a sixth goal in the 83rd minute with Poku firing into the bottom right hand corner from 12 yards.

Seaden then did well to push a curling effort from Folivi to safety before Blues netted a late consolation with Sterling scoring his first goal for the club deep into stoppage time. 

Southend United: Seaden, Hobson, White (Chandler 46), R Taylor, Clifford, Egbri, Phillips, Goodship (Nathaniel-George 46), Rush, Acquah (O Coker 71), Sterling

Subs: Grossart, Davis, Adedoja & Brown